Here we are coming into summer, and more importantly for me, 3 weeks from a long-anticipated trip to the USA to meet up with some internet friends (more on that another time!). Add in a work Health and Well-being challenge and a rather nasty public weigh-in, and I am on a diet!
I remember in the early days of being gluten-free, a colleague warned me that his wife had really packed on the pounds due to having to eat so many hot chips 🙂 I think for me, it is more that access to high fibre foods is not so easy, and because I am already restricting myself so much, I feel that the odd chocolate bar (OK, no more than one a day), potato crisp and glass of wine is just fine, and in fact, is owed to me in some way. My basic problem is that I LOVE food. I ADORE food. I cook, I eat, and it has to be said, the lure of the bad foods is often too great for me to resist.
Combine the love of food with a sedentary job, and the taxi duties that having 6 kids requires, and you begin to see the problem. I do believe it is important to look after oneself, but sometimes the day-to-day practicalities of managing work and family take over the available time. The upshot when you add in being gluten intolerant? An extra 10kgs. I am tall and solid, but that put me into the “very overweight” category based on BMI. Bah humbug, I say, the BMI is calculated on American military personnel, but the fact remains I am the heaviest I have been in 10 years.
The trip overseas was a call to action several weeks ago, and the work challenge has spurred me on (there’s money riding on it!). But how to lose weight? One way is to build some exercise into my week, and I am successfully doing that with swimming, going to the gym at work and being more active in the weekends. I’m even considering an early-morning walk tomorrow. But what about food intake? Yes, portion control is good and works. Yes calorie counting is a great and accurate way to do it, but I really can’t be bothered faffing with that sort of detail. Weight Watchers is awesome but I can’t be bothered doing meetings and so on.
I’ve turned to my old favourite, the South Beach Diet. This is all about changing your eating patterns so that your body no longer craves sugar or carbohydrates and rather than eating these you substitute in ‘good’ high fibre carbs. It’s designed to reduce belly fat and heart disease risk. The South Beach (or as I renamed it the first time I did, the SUCK Beach) diet starts with a 2 to 4 week detoxification. Dr Agatston, the person who devised the diet, stresses that this first couple of weeks is not a long-term healthy eating plan, but is intended to break the body’s habits and cravings. So are you ready for this? For the first 2-4 weeks (maximum of 4 weeks) you eat no carbs, sugar or alcohol. So that’s no bread, no fruit, etc. Added to this, at breakfast, you eat low-fat protein plus half a cup of vegetables (eg a vegetarian omelette). For lunch, you eat protein and two cups of vegetables (e.g. a smoked chicken salad). For dinner you eat protein and two cups of vegetables. Snack on nuts, drink plenty of water and away you go! Phase Two puts one serving of good carbohydrates back into your day. Phase Three allows two servings and so on, until you’re gradually back up to eating normally, but with high fibre foods replacing the refined products previously eaten.
In the past, I’ve always had great results on the Suck Beach, and in fact, have had a number of comments on how good my skin is looking. Of course, if I have been gluten intolerant for a while, not eating carbs would make a difference as I’d be staying away from gluten!!! I should really have known then. For someone gluten-intolerant, the Suck Beach is an awesome diet, as it means you just stay away from carbs completely and don’t have to think quite so much about what you’re eating.
So here I am, 2 weeks into the Suck Beach diet and new exercise regime and I’m down 3.3kgs of the 10kgs I need to lose. It won’t all be gone by the time I go on my trip, but I’m backing myself to get there over the 9 weeks of the challenge. I’ll then use some of the excellent products I’ve been trialling to eat better. In the meantime, I’m getting used to the look of my plate being mostly veges and some meat.
What do my fellow gluten-intolerant people do to lose weight and keep it off? Do let me know!